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DMN: Cowboys plan to be discerning shoppers


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Cowboys plan to be discerning shoppers

With NFL veterans facing cuts today, teams look for bargains


IRVING – Bill Parcells likes to call the NFL a talent acquisition business, and starting today the Cowboys will get another chance to sign players who had been under contract.

By releasing players today, teams can spread out the salary-cap hit over 2004 and '05, meaning some high-priced and aging veterans can be had for significantly less money.

The Cowboys have needs – cornerback, defensive line, running back and wide receiver – but they will handle this wave of free agency like the first: patiently.

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"We have a couple of things in mind right now," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "And I say at least one definitive thing. ... We just have to see if the opportunity presents itself."

The name connected most to the Cowboys is quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who is expected to be cut by the New York Jets. Because of his ties to Parcells, his familiarity with the offense and his ability to tutor the Cowboys' younger quarterbacks, Testaverde looks like a good fit.

The Cowboys cannot bank on Quincy Carter playing a full season again. Last year's backup, Chad Hutchinson, did not overwhelm in NFL Europe, which could lead to his release. Drew Henson has not played football since 2001, and Tony Romo sits to pee has not taken a snap in the NFL.

"When it is over, we'll evaluate all the guys over there and see what we think, Chad included," Parcells said of the NFL Europe season.

Because Testaverde is under contract, the Cowboys could not comment about him.

The most likely candidate to be cut by the Cowboys had been Larry Allen, but the Pro Bowl left guard seems to have worked his way back into Parcells' good graces with his recent conditioning work.

Atlanta is expected to cut Tyrone Williams, who should be the most attractive cornerback on the market. But the Cowboys seem committed to Pete Hunter as the starter opposite Terence Newman. Two former 2001 first-round picks, David Terrell and Kenyatta Walker, are expected to be released and could pique the Cowboys' interest.

Walker started 43 games over three years at right and left tackle for Tampa Bay but has some off-field issues. Terrell has 86 catches for 903 yards and eight touchdowns in his first three seasons, but he and Henson had great success at Michigan.

A year ago, the Cowboys added 12 players after training camp began, but Parcells and Jones do not see that happening this year.

Said Jones, "I think our personnel is deeper and better than that."

E-mail tarcher@dallasnews.com


Some prominent players who could be cut beginning today, with comments by Staff Writer Todd Archer:

Pos. Player Team Comment

FS Zack Bronson San Francisco A big makeover for Niners secondary.

QB Tim Couch Cleveland Browns still looking to trade him.

DT Daryl Gardener Denver Appears headed to Cincinnati.

RB Eddie George Tennessee Raiders could take a shot at him.

LB Jason Gildon Pittsburgh Steelers' all-time sack leader.

DE Joe Johnson Green Bay Injuries hurt his performance.

WR David Terrell Chicago Merry-go-round at quarterback didn't help.

QB Vinny Testaverde NY Jets Cowboys could face competition for him.

LB Jeremiah Trotter Washington Could return to Philadelphia.

OT Kenyatta Walker Tampa Bay Not a favorite of coach Jon Gruden.

QB Kurt Warner St. Louis Possibly Eli Manning's tutor in New York.

CB Tyrone Williams Atlanta A lot of attitude, not enough plays.

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